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Top 50 Pharmacy Technician Programs

With a constantly growing elderly population, there is a growing need for pharmacy technicians in the workforce. The field has a projected growth rate of 9%, which is faster than the national average. Technicians help maintain the medication profiles, assist pharmacists, organize file systems, and compound the medications.

Most states require that pharmacy technicians be certified. They must pass the national certification exam and then register within the state they work. A traditional or online pharmacy technician education will provide students with knowledge in mathematics, pharmacology, pharmacy law, compounding, billing, and customer service. Programs also provide hands-on experience and prepare students to sit for the national certification exam. Most of these programs will take a year or less to complete, but some may take longer and will lead to an associate degree. Many programs will require students to shadow a pharmacist or technician in an active pharmacy environment.

What the Pharmacy Technician Does

Pharmacy technicians can work in hospitals, retail pharmacies, grocery stores, or other healthcare facilities. The average salary for a pharmacy technician is $30,920, but that will increase with experience. A pharmacy technician will work under the supervision of a pharmacist and spend most of their time on their feet. They will perform duties such as:

  • Data collection from patients
  • Measure medications
  • Maintain inventory counts
  • Package and label prescriptions
  • Compound Sterile products
  • Answer phone calls
  • Process payments

Most pharmacy technicians will work full time. If working in a hospital or 24-hour pharmacy, there are options for multiple shifts, along with working weekends. Attention to detail and listening skills are very important skills for a pharmacy technician to have.

What Are The Best Online Pharmacy Technician Programs?

1

North Central Kansas Technical CollegeHays, KS

The Pharmacy Technician Program at NCK is a one year program that will prepare students to take the pharmacy technician certification examination. Graduates receive a certificate and become registered with the Kansas State Board of Pharmacy. Classes include pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacy operations, pharmacology for technicians, and sterile compounding and aseptic technique. The program includes a general education requirement.

2

Northwest Iowa Community CollegeSheldon, IA

NICC offers a two-semester pharmacy technician diploma. Students must begin the program during the fall semester and earn 39 course hours to graduate. Courses include medical terminology and public speaking. Pharmacy technicians must be nationally certified and approved by the Iowa State Board of Pharmacy to work in the state. The program helps students meet this requirement.

3

North Dakota State College of ScienceWahpeton, ID

The pharmacy technician program at NCSCS offers a certification and an AAS degree. Both programs may include face-to-face classes, online classes, and practical lab work. There is also an online program available through Bismarck State College. The AAS requires 65 credits to complete while the certificate only requires 40 credits. Both programs will allow the graduate to become registered with the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy, which is required for employment. The programs boast a 100% placement rate for graduates.

4

Vance-Granville Community CollegeHenderson, NC

The Division of Health Sciences offers a pharmacy technology degree and diploma. Both programs prepare students to assist pharmacists. The programs will also prepare students to pass the national pharmacy technician certification examination. The diploma requires 42 credit hours while the degree requires more general knowledge classes and extra lab work. The programs can be completed in three to five semesters.

5

Stanly Community CollegeLocust, NC

Stanly Community College offers an AAS and a diploma for pharmacy technicians. The program educates the student on how to prepare medications and maintain a pharmacy under the supervision of a pharmacist. The associate degree prepares students to work as a "validating technician" in hospitals. This role allows them to check work done by other technicians. This program takes about two and a half years to complete and includes general education alongside the pharmacy specific classes.

6

Foothill CollegeLos Altos Hills, CA

Foothill College’s nine-month pharmacy technician program grants graduates with a certificate of completion which allows them to apply with the California State Board of Pharmacy. They can also take the pharmacy technician certification exam. A two-year associate in science in pharmacy technician degree is available for further education.

7

Ogeechee Technical CollegeStatesboro, GA

OTC offers a diploma in pharmacy technology, but students must first register with the Georgia Board of Pharmacy prior to enrollment. Students will not be able to complete the shadowing exercises without registering. Learners must earn a minimum of 56 credit hours and can begin the program any semester. The program also requires 1290 contact hours and takes about 4 semesters to complete. Graduates may sit for the PTCE.

8

Everest UniversityTampa, FL

The pharmacy technician program offers a diploma at the Tampa and Orange Park campuses. Both programs prepare students to become pharmacy techs in Florida. The program should take about eight months for full-time students. Courses include pharmacy administration, calculations, medical terminology, and more.

9

Angelina CollegeLufkin, TX

Angelina College offers a certificate of completion program that take about three semesters to complete. Students must be registered with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy as a technician trainee in order to complete the program. The program requires a total of 34 credit hours for the certificate. Graduates will meet the 40 hours of training required to be competent with compound sterile products. Students will also be eligible to take the certification examination.

10

Marygrove CollegeDetroit, MI

The Marygrove College pharmacy technician program can be completed in about a year and includes mostly night classes.

11

Hutchinson Community CollegeHutchinson, KS

The pharmacy technician program provides a certificate of completion that requires 33 hours or three full-time semesters to complete. Most classes can be taken online, but there is a required face-to-face lab beginning fall 2017. The program prepares students to sit for the national certification examination. There is also a pharmacy pre-professional program that requires 64 credit hours to complete.

12

Oconee Fall Line Technical CollegeDublin, GA

OFTC offers an associate of applied science degree and a diploma for pharmacy technicians at the south campus in Dublin, Georgia. The program takes five semesters, and 65 credit hours to complete, while the diploma can be completed in four semesters. The degree requires students to complete more general education credits. There are no pharmacy technician courses online, but the basic skills course are available.

13

Lanier Technical CollegeOakwood, GA

LTC offers a pharmacy assistant technical certificate of credit at its Oakwood, Georgia, campus. The certificate prepares students for entry-level employment in the pharmaceutical world. There is also a diploma program that requires 56 hours to complete and provides additional educational opportunities. Both programs focus on pharmacy specific classes, such as calculations and pharmacology. Students must take an exit exam during their last semester and receive a passing grade of 80% in order to graduate.

14

University of Alaska AnchorageAnchorage, AK

The University of Alaska Anchorage has many options for a pharmacy education. In addition to the doctorate in pharmacy collaborative programs, the School of Allied Health offers a 17-credit occupational endorsement certificate for pharmacy technicians. The program includes six distance courses and introduces students to subjects like pharmacology and pharmacy issues. Graduates are prepared to take the PTCB examination and become a licensed pharmacy technician.

15

Southeast Technical InstituteSioux Falls, SD

STI offers a one year pharmacy technician diploma. The 48-credit program provides hands-on experience for students to become familiar with the professional pharmacy setting. There are required labs in order graduate.

16

Cabarrus College of Health SciencesConcord, NC

The pharmacy technician program at Cabarrus College is part of the larger Carolinas HealthCare System. The programs offers a diploma and an associate of science degree. The 43-hour diploma educated students with classwork and a weekly, three-hour, hands-on lab. The program requires all the same classes for a diploma and an additional 26 hours of general education courses, such as natural science, humanities, and social sciences. The program is designed to be completed in two years.

17

Lakeshore Technical CollegeCleveland, WI

Lakeshore Technical College offers a technical diploma that takes two terms and requires 35 credits to complete. Classes include pharmacy law, business, and compounding procedures. Students participate in real-world, hands-on training during a four-week clinical program. LTC also offers a pharmacy services management associate degree.

18

The University of MontanaMissoula, MT

The University of Montana offers a certificate of applied science in pharmacy technology. This program only accepts 12 students each fall. Each applicant must register as a technician in training with the Montana State Board of Pharmacy before beginning. The program is designed to be completed in nine months and boasts a 91% completion rate. There is also a required internship which consists of two, four-week sessions of 40 hours per week.

19

Renton Technical CollegeRenton, WA

Renton Technical College offers two pharmacy technician programs: a certificate of completion and an associate of applied science. Both programs require the same pharmacy related classes. The AAS requires additional general education classes, such as communications and psychology. Both programs prepare students to work at an entry-level pharmacy technician position. The pharmacy technician program includes a required externship. The certificate of completion is 77 credits and can be completed in four quarters. The AAS is 97 credits and requires six quarters to complete.

20

Columbus Technical CollegeColumbus, GA

Columbus Technical College offers a pharmacy technology diploma and an associate of applied science. The diploma requires 56 credit hours to complete and the AAS requires 65 hours. Both programs focus on pharmacy specific classes, such as pharmaceutical calculations, sterile processing, and dispensing medications. They prepare students to sit for the national certification exam. Both programs are considered to be a "competitive admissions program."

21

Southeastern Technical CollegeVidalia, GA

STC offers a pharmacy technician diploma. This programs offers classes on campus and online. The school focuses on preparing the students to pass the required licensure exam and work in the pharmaceutical field. This program requires 56 hours to complete and includes a practicum. It should take about five semesters to complete. Students are only accepted in the fall semester.

22

Atlanta Technical CollegeAtlanta, GA

Atlanta Technical College offers three pharmacy technician programs: an associate degree, a diploma, and a technical certificate for a pharmacy assistant. The associate degree is a 65-credit, five-semester program. The diploma takes 56 hours to complete. The certificate is a three-semester, 35-hour program. All three programs require a 225-hour pharmacy assistant practicum.

23

Forsyth Technical Community CollegeWinston-Salem, NC

FTCC offers two pharmacy technician program. Both offer an evening part-time and full-time schedule. Courses include content in normal human anatomy and physiology, mathematics, ethical/legal issues, business practices, and psychology. The AAS requires 71 credit hours to complete and the diploma requires 36. Both include professional practice and are considered a competitive admissions program, only accepting 15 students each.

24

Central Georgia Technical CollegeMacon, GA

Central Georgia offers a 56-hour diploma program and an 18-hour pharmacist’s assistant program. The diploma starts in the fall semester at the Macon and Milledgeville campuses. The assistant program is held at the Warner Robins, Macon, and Milledgeville Campuses, every semester. Both are considered a competitive admissions program.

25

Augusta Technical CollegeAugusta, GA

ATC offers a diploma and a degree program in pharmacy technology. Students are required to register with the Georgia State board before performing technical duties. Students learn communications, math, and interpersonal skills.

26

Imperial Valley CollegeImperial, GA

Imperial Valley College offers an associate in science and a certificate of achievement pharmacy technician program. The AS requires 60 semester units along with the 18.5 pharmacy-specific credit hours. The certificate requires the 18.5 credit hours to complete. Classes include medical terminology, calculations, and operations. The certificate of achievement is designed for students to enter the workforce quickly.

27

Miles Community CollegeMiles City, MT

The certificate of applied science for pharmacy technician is a two-semester, 33-credit program designed to prepare students to sit for the PTCB examination and work in a pharmacy environment. Classes cover pharmacy law and calculations. There is also a focus on business writing, communication in a dynamic workplace, use of computers, and biology. The curriculum includes a specific class for customer service management.

28

Southeastern Illinois CollegeHarrisburg, IL

Southeastern Illinois College offers one course in its pharmacy technician program. It’s a seven-credit preparation class. Graduates may apply for the Pharmacy Technician Certification.

29

Louisiana State UniversityAlexandria, LA

The LSU - Alexandria campus offers a certificate in pharmacy technology. This is a 41-credit program that’s designed to prepare students for the certification examination. Students will work in a simulation lab, including rotations through hospitals and retail pharmacies.

30

North Georgia Technical CollegeClarkesville, GA

NTGC offers a diploma and a degree in pharmacy technology. Occupational courses are the same for both programs, but the degree requires more general educational classes. Most of the classes are offered during the day, but a few of the prerequisite classes can be completed online or during the evening. The occupational courses can be completed in three semesters. Both programs prepare students to sit for the national certification examination.

31

Snow CollegeEphraim, UT

Snow College offers a pharmacy technician course. This course is 20 credits and requires about 450 combined hours of instruction and clinical time. This course meets three times a week, and enrollment is limited to 12 students. Background checks are required. The course can be completed in two semesters. Students are prepared to take the national licensing examination.

32

Central Piedmont Community CollegeCharlotte, NC

CPCC offers an associate of applied science degree and a diploma in their pharmacy technician program. The diploma can be completed in three semesters; the degree takes five. Both start in the fall and include classroom and online instruction. Students gain hands-on experience. In 2015, CPCC had a 82% graduation rate, a 100% certification pass rate, and a 90% job placement rate.

33

Western Technical CollegeLa Crosse, WI

Western Technical College offers a technical diploma for pharmacy technicians, which is shared with Lakeshore Technical College. It is a 36-credit program, and students must also comply with the Lakeshore requirements in order to graduate. Courses are offered in the daytime. Students have the option to start in August or January and can expect to complete the program in two semesters.

34

West Kentucky Community and Technical CollegePaducah, KY

West Kentucky Community and Technical College offers a certificate for pharmacy technicians. Student earn the certificate after completing 21 to 24 credits of coursework along with supervised lab work and an externship. Graduates are prepared to sit for the national licensing examination. 58% of the students complete the program in 32 weeks. Classes range from public speaking to pharmacy procedurals.

35

Chippewa Valley Technical CollegeEau Claire, WI

Chippewa Valley Technical College offers a 34-credit, technical diploma for pharmacy technicians. This face-to-face program provides students with experience through hands-on labs and traditional classroom settings. The program can be completed in one year and starts in August.

36

Northland Community and Technical CollegeThief River Falls, MN

Northland Community and Technical College offers a 60-credit AAS and a 36-credit pharmacy technology diploma. Both programs are offered on the East Grand Forks campus.

37

West Georgia Technical CollegeLaGrange, GA

West Georgia Technical College offers a pharmacy assistant certificate for a minimum of 35 credits. Graduates are prepared to sit for the national licensing examination and find entry-level positions in hospitals, retail pharmacies, nursing homes, and medical clinics. Classes include introduction to computers, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacology, and pharmacy assistant practicum.

38

Johnston Community CollegeSmithfield, NC

Johnston Community College offers a five-semester degree and a three-semester diploma for pharmacy technicians. Applicants must attend a face-to-face information session in order to obtain an application for fall 2017. Completion of either program prepares students to sit for the national licensing examination. 70% of diploma students completed the program within 12 months.

39

Southern Crescent Technical CollegeGriffin, GA

SCTC offers a pharmacy technician degree that begins in the fall. Classes take place during the day and in the evening. Students are required to earn at least 65 credit hours. Admittance is based on a competitive admission process, using GPA, nationalized test scores, and program application dates. There is no waiting list for the program.

40

Wiregrass Georgia Technical CollegeValdosta, GA

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College offers a 56-credit hour pharmacy technician diploma. This program begins every other semester and qualifies for the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant. There is a nine-hour general education requirement to go along with the 47 hours of occupational coursework.

41

Minnesota State Community and Technical CollegeFergus Falls, MN

MSCTC offers a pharmacy technology diploma and an associate of applied science degree. The diploma requires 36 credits to complete; the AAS requires a minimum of 60 credits to complete. Students learn how to fill prescriptions. They also learn aseptic techniques for intravenous drug admixture in the college's state-of-the-art teaching lab. Graduates are prepared to sit for the national licensing examination and register with the Minnesota State Board of Pharmacy.

42

South Suburban CollegeSouth Holland, IL

South Suburban College offers an ASHP/ACPE-accredited pharmacy technician certificate. The 39-credit certificate can be taken part time or full time; classes are offered in the evenings. Additional coursework may be taken to achieve an associate degree in general studies. There is also a six-credit hour "fundamentals of pharmacy tech" offered as an abbreviated alternative to the certificate course. Graduates are prepared to sit for the national licensing examination and register for with their state board of pharmacy.

43

Durham Technical Community CollegeDurham, NC

Durham Technical Community College offers a diploma and associate degree for pharmacy technicians. The diploma takes three semesters to complete; the degree program should take about five semesters. Both programs prepare students to work in an entry-level position as a pharmacy technician. Students must attend a mandatory orientation.

44

Southeast Community CollegeLincoln, NE

Southeast Community College offers a 12-month, four-quarter pharmacy technician diploma. The program starts twice a year in the summer and in the winter. The summer session starts in July and is completed face-to-face. The winter session begins in January and is completed online. There are 11 pharmacy related courses and three general education courses. Ninety percent of students completed the program within the 12 months.

45

South Texas CollegeMcAllen, TX

South Texas College offers a full-time associate degree in pharmacy technology as well as a certificate. Both are considered “Selective Programs,” which means they require additional application materials for approval; general admission into the college will not guarantee admission into either the associate or the certificate program. Courses are offered during the day, with the associate beginning in the fall and the certification requiring a prerequisite semester prior to a fall start. Certificate students are also required to complete a capstone project during the final summer session.

46

Wake Technical Community CollegeRaleigh, NC

The associate degree in pharmacy technology at Wake Technical Community College is designed for flexibility in their graduates’ careers. If they want to continue their education, they enter into a bachelor’s program elsewhere prepared to succeed; if they choose to enter the workforce, they already have the skills needed to begin their careers. Students receive hands-on experience in the practice lab and the hospital practice lab.

47

Lincoln Trail CollegeRobinson, IL

Lincoln Trail College only offers an occupational certificate in pharmacy technology. The program requires 21 hours spread over three semesters, and students must participate in an internship in a healthcare environment.

48

Texarkana CollegeTexarkana, TX

Pharmacy technology students at Texarkana College choose between receiving their certifications online or in person, with the online module providing a more self-paced environment accessible any time of day. Students who opt for training at the brick-and-mortar campus must register as a pharmacy technician trainee with the Texas State Pharmacy Board upon conditional acceptance; they will not be able to fully enter the program without it.

49

Aiken Technical CollegeGraniteville, SC

Aiken Technical College’s pharmacy technician program provides a certificate requiring 39 credit hours of work. All participants are required to attend training at off-campus clinical facilities to complete the program. They must also purchase student liability insurance.

50

West Los Angeles CollegeCulver Cita, CA

There are two different pharmacy technician paths at West Los Angeles College - for credit, and an accelerated certification path called the Westside Extension Career Training. The former provides opportunities for more advanced studies, including an associate degree, or the ability to transfer credits to another school. The latter wraps up in nine months, with 460 hours of instruction spread across six modules. 120 hours of the instruction must be completed as part of an externship. Credits are not provided.


To determine the best pharmacy technician schools, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the 50 best online pharmacy technology programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.